Last race of the season

Good morning everyone,

Did you enjoy the fantastic weather this weekend? I did. Well, half of it anyway. It'll be nice today too. Then tomorrow will be cloudy turning to rain and it'll continue to rain on Wednesday and Thursday. It'll also be a fair bit cooler with highs around 24C or 25C. It'll be a grey Friday for Obama's visit and then we should see some sun again next weekend.

Yesterday I had a race in Hirao, Yamaguchi. It's a small town near Yanai. I've never ran a race so tough in all my years as a runner. It didn't help that I was out of shape and it was about 30C, but even in my best shape there is no way I would have enjoyed that race. It started with a 3km uphill stretch-and I mean UPHILL! It wasn't a nice jog up a gently sloping hill-it was up a friggin' mountain, on par with the steepness you see in the Hakone Marathon or worse. By the time I got to the top, about 90% of the people were walking. I kept going, but my pace was only slightly faster than theirs. It levelled off for a kilometre or so and then we had to climb up another hill to run around a wind turbine before heading back down the mountain. It was the first time I've ever run a race and not broken 60 minutes-my time was 60:33.

Now, here are my excuses...ha ha! As I mentioned earlier, it was insanely hot and on top of that, a really tough course. The fact that I've been nursing a tight hamstring certainly didn't help, but the real killer was that the course was actually 11km...to be honest, my watch said 10.99km...in all my races so far, the difference between my watch and the race was a few metres. So, if it had actually been 10km, I would have still broken one hour. But I'm definitely going back next year!

I had a bit of a funny experience after the race though...one older man came up to me and asked me if I was American. I told him I was Canadian and then he asked me two really random questions...one was "Why are American pitchers all left-handers?" (of course I'm translating, he asked me the questions in Japanese)...as if I would know why they are left-handed! I told him there are mostly right-handed pitchers back home too-it's just that there aren't many lefties in Japan, so it's a chance for players not good enough for the majors to pitch professionally. Then he asked me this one..."Why is Bill short for William?". I was speechless...literally...ha ha! What am I supposed to say to that?

Anyway, those must be two of the most random questions I've ever been asked in Japan...it was a funny way to end the worst run of my short career.

Have a great day!

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